Even the parents of 11-year-old Tyler Badie can’t keep up with the blazingly fast track phenomenon. The rising seventh-grader recently finished as a top five finalist in a regional qualifier track tournament, granting him a trip to New Orleans, La., to participate in this year’s AAU Junior Olympics. The 10-day event will begin July 28 and involves nearly 16,000 junior athletes from across the country. Ages will range from 8 to 18, giving the younger athletes a chance to travel and explore. For Badie, however, it’s a chance to return home.

Tyler and his parents arrived in Maryland shortly after Hurricane Katrina displaced them in 2005. Since their relocation, Tyler has focused his efforts on track, basketball and football but it’s his first love that has him set to make a return visit to his hometown.

“We’re very proud of him,” says Shaun Badie, Tyler’s father. “It’s an example of how hard work and dedication pays off. For him to have the opportunity to win a medal in his hometown of New Orleans in front of family and friends, it’s very gratifying as a parent.”

Tyler will be enrolling this fall at Friends School of Baltimore and is “very excited” about the chance to go to the New Orleans. With the upcoming Olympics set to test the will of many of its participants, the older Badie continues to remind his son to “always keep God first and always stay humble and true to himself.”

Tyler isn’t the only one looking forward to journeying back to New Orleans. His parents share his enthusiasm for their visit. Although the Olympic events are just one portion of the visit, the other portion involves a little culinary tradition.

“Definitely looking forward to getting with family and friends,” Shaun adds, “and getting involved in some good New Orleans home cooking.”


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO